Bank responds to debit fees by paying new customers

Community Bank, which has 17 branches in southwest Florida, is joining the outcry against bank debit fees by offering new customers the opposite: a monthly payment.

The $5 per month Community Bank is offering anyone who opens a Value Checking account is a direct response to the $3 to $5 monthly debit card fees larger banks are starting to charge, officials said.

“We needed to do something to help consumers who are under attack from behemoth national banks charging fees that just don’t make sense,” said Katie Pembles, Community Bank president. “

Pembles said Manatee-based Community Bank “doesn’t think we have to charge $5 a month to make an account profitable.”

The need to make up for revenue lost through regulatory reform is the reason Bank of America has given for its plan to charge customers who use debit cards for purchases. New rules slashed the amount banks can collect from merchants for debit card payments. 

Chrysler, auto workers finally settle on contract

Chrysler and the United Auto Workers union have finally agreed on a new contract.

The company was the last Detroit carmaker to reach a deal with the union after more than two months of bargaining and several snags. The tentative agreement, reached Wednesday, creates up to 2,100 new jobs and promises $4.5 billion in investments at U.S. plants.

The deal is less generous than those reached earlier with General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co., but Chrysler Group LLC is also less profitable than its rivals.

Union officials said the contract, which includes a $3,500 signing bonus but gives most workers no annual raises, is the best they can do. 

Independent ATM firms suing credit card companies

Independent ATM operators are accusing MasterCard and Visa of fixing prices and forcing them to charge consumers set fees.

A lawsuit the ATM operators filed Wednesday claims MasterCard and Visa impose contract terms that prevent them from charging less when consumers use cards that can tap networks other than MasterCard’s and Visa’s.

Independent ATM operators’ machines are not affiliated with banks and are most typically found at drug stores, convenience stores and gas stations.

The ATM operators are seeking class-action status for their antitrust claims. Representatives from MasterCard Inc. and Visa Inc. declined to comment. 

Buffett claims earnings of $62.8 million last year

Warren Buffett has called himself mega-rich, but now he’s revealing how much money he made last year: $62,855,038.

The billionaire investor disclosed the figure in a letter he wrote Tuesday to Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas that was obtained by The Associated Press. Buffett and Huelskamp have been sparring over Buffett’s call for higher taxes on the wealthy. 

With problems resolved, banks step up forclosures

More U.S. homes are entering the foreclosure process and taking longer to get sold or repossessed by lenders.

The number of U.S. homes that received a first-time default notice during the July to September quarter increased 14 percent compared to the second quarter, RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

That increase signals banks are moving more aggressively against borrowers they have since industrywide foreclosure processing problems emerged last fall.

A pickup in foreclosure activity also means a potentially faster turnaround for the U.S. housing market. Experts say a revival isn’t likely to occur as long as there remains a glut of potential foreclosures hovering over the market. 

Walmart stores break two-year sales slump

Walmart’s effort to reverse a two-year sales slump at its U.S. namesake stores is beginning to work.

The world’s largest retailer said Wednesday during a meeting with analysts that revenue at its namesake stores in the U.S. that have been open at least a year rose three months in a row in July, August and September after more than two years of quarterly declines. 

– From news service reports